Paul Whelan was given the opportunity to speak with White House staffers on Wednesday. The phone call was arranged by Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Paul Whelan, after Whelan criticized the White House’s handling of her case against her brother.
Elizabeth Whelan’s comments to CNN came after the White House released a readout of a phone call Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris held with Cherelle Griner, the wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, the American basketball star who is also being held in Russia. Whelan said she was angry that her brother’s case was not receiving the same level of attention from the White House. A National Security Council spokesman said Thursday that her concerns are being addressed through ongoing efforts. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan had spoken directly with Elizabeth Whelan about her brother’s imprisonment in Russia for more than three years after being convicted on espionage charges that he vehemently denies. Paul Whelan has been imprisoned in Russia for more than three years after being convicted on espionage charges that he vehemently denies. He was sentenced in June 2020 to 16 years in prison in a trial US officials denounced as unfair.”
I believe most of us, and I certainly believe that the President, is aware of the suffering, the fear, the uncertainty, and the longing that Elizabeth is enduring right now. He believes that, and he makes it clear that he wishes every effort made to do what we can to get Paul home as well.
Kirby said, “As I said earlier, we have stayed in constant touch with Ms. Whelan.” “Look,” Kirby said, “I’ve been in the job a month and I’ve seen literally every day, I’ve seen the President engage on these cases. We really mean it when we say it’s top of mind.” Elizabeth Whelan told CNN’s Jennifer Hansler on Wednesday that she didn’t want to detract from the effort being made to secure Brittney Griner’s release but questioned why her family had not received a phone call from Biden and why her brother had not received a letter from the President, noting it appeared the White House was “showing favoritism.”
I would like to visit the Whelans as often as everybody else does. But wouldn’t Paul also like to be given only the best attention that he receives from this dedication? Why is the Whelans not being called by the Family Hull? Why is the President not going to correspond with Paul? (Paul’s) made several statements to the President, and I’m really angry over this.
Joe Biden responded to a letter of Brittney Griner’s before composing a draft of his own letter to her. Using a recording apparatus, he then transcribed the letter on the phone with Cherelle Griner. Griner said that she was terrified that she could wind up in jail in Russia.
On Thursday, Griner’s attorneys confirmed to CNN that she had pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Russian court near Moscow. Griner, whom the US State Department has classified as wrongfully detained, faces up to 10 years in prison under the charge. Earlier this year, Trevor Reed, a US citizen and former Marine who had been detained in Russia since 2019, was released in a prisoner swap. Whelan questioned why he was left behind in a statement to his parents and shared with CNN.